Monday, November 30, 2009

Stick Around: Things Get Interesting

My husband's great aunt is a remarkable woman. She was born in 1926. She left a tiny Texas town for Stanford University. She held on to her maiden name and practiced law in San Francisco during the heyday of male chauvinism in the 1960's. She and my husband's great uncle reared four children. They also built a mansion in the city, they owned vacation properties in the USA, they bought art, and they loved every moment of life together. Today my husband's great aunt is still enjoying life.

As a widow in her early 80's she became an extra in movies and an elderly model for print advertisements. Why not? That's her in a Kaiser Permanente print advertisement that ran in the National Geographic magazine. I love this ad. Look at the tag line in the ad: Stick Around: Things Get Interesting. If you'll notice the family surrounding her is extremely diverse. It's a great message. Her family is also extremely diverse.

I will always adore the fact that my husband's great aunt and great uncle came back to Austin, Texas in the spring of 2006 to attend their great-nephew's gay wedding ceremony. We were so broke after our wedding that we stayed at their beach house (for free) for our honeymoon. It's so nice to feel loved by the remarkable people in your family.

Sunday, November 29, 2009


My husband is brilliant. He was valedictorian of his humongous high school. He graduated with high honors from UT with his engineering degree. He does calculus for fun. He has a subscription to Popular Mechanics. He can fit ten times as many dishes in the dishwasher than I can fit. The man is super smart.

Today I confessed to my husband that I want new silverware because I did not like the dull tines of our forks. His head slanted like Scooby Doo as he asked me what word I had just used. I told him 'tines'? He said he had never heard that word before in his entire life. At that point it was more logical for me to assume I had just made up that word, than it was for me to assume I had just used a real word he did not know.

Christmas Class- We've got it!

Nothing says class and sophistication like Hallmark's Cousin Eddie RV tree ornament and Sundance Catalog's 1950 Snowman plastic yard ornament. We purchased both this year to add to our existing classy Christmas decor.

Sick Man

The husband has been ill the entire Thanksgiving holiday week. Yesterday we did not leave the house. We watched the Bourne movies, which are excellent, we put up the Christmas tree and he took many hot showers and one long afternoon nap. We tried to venture out today, but after Crate and Barrel and some Indian food at Roti Grill we headed back home so he could take another long afternoon nap.

We just finished Steel Magnolias and we're starting the Kill Bill movies.

Saturday, November 28, 2009


My husband's parents are the hub for both sides of their family. They hosted over 24 people and 4 dogs for Thanksgiving. With all the family in town we feel very fortunate to claim Bill's inside workshop as our bedroom during the holidays- our first year together we were assigned an air mattress in the entry hall of their home- the workshop is an upgrade. The workshop is quiet, it's private, and it gives us a place to corral our dogs (read: beast).

However, my husband's parents always set up the air mattress in the workshop under the wall-o-tools. I am not quiet sure what signal they are sending when they place our heads under the hatchets, hammers, screwdrivers, saws, and crowbar that dangle from peg board?! My husband's family seem to have invented the term "raise the roof" when they get together and play games; I'm just worried the wall-o-tools will fall on my head at night when everyone gets rowdy. It could happen.

This year we moved the air mattress under Bill's work bench- away from the death trap.

Wilson Birthday Cake

We held a post-Thanksgiving birthday celebration for my father last night. It's always fun to spend time with the family, and it's especially nice when my father picked up his own birthday tab. He bought the meal. We brought the cake.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Happy Birthday Wilson!

Happy Birthday Wilson! Your favorite (gay) sons love you!
Today is the day my father arrived on earth in 1953. Let us pause and celebrate this most significant day in my life- without my father (and mother!) then I would not have been created, reared, and then married-off to my husband. I am so happy my father was born. I am so happy I am one of his sons.
We had an early birthday celebration on Saturday in Austin and we will have a late birthday celebration on Friday (the chocolate cake has been ordered) of course can you really ever completely totally sufficiently celebrate the birth of your father (and mother)? I think not. We can at least try. Par-tay!

Presley says:

"Hey Uncles, I'm going to make pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving."

Thanksgiving Dishes

For Thanksgiving we're taking the follow dishes to my in-law's house:

  • My mother's sweet potatoes (with Granny Smith apples as the topping!)

  • Glenda's macaroni and cheese (there's no such thing as too much cheese)

  • My husband's grandmother's Dark Rum Bundt Cake

  • Williams-Sonoma's Cranberry Relish (I could eat it out of the jar)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

It's fun to be me.

Tonight- my husband gets home!

Tomorrow- We arrive in Austin for the weekend of fun. I have worthwhile meetings during the day, and then we get to hang out with Milo & Lucy and their parents for dinner.

Saturday - We're spending the entire day in the greatest city in the world (Austin) with my parents to celebrate the birth of my father. We have tickets to the Longhorn game. Hook 'em.

Sunday - Brunch in Austin? A jog around Ladybird Lake? In route to Dallas we plan to make a pit-stop to see Owen and his mom. Owen is in Texas!

Next week- My husband has no business trips planned and it's a short work week.

Life is good.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


We got our 2009 property tax bill in the mail.

Do you know what $9,892.28 means to me? It is the dollars and cents we pay, annually, to our appraisal district. The money goes to the city, the school, the county, the community college and the hospital districts that claim our home. Texas does not have a state income tax but they have a sales tax and property tax. We pay both. We also pay federal income tax- every year. We pay our social security tax. We pay our medicare tax. We pay, pay, pay.

We work hard for our money, and I don't mind paying because we are contributing to our society and we're doing our equitable part to support the greatest nation in the world- the United States of America. However, when I stop and think about it I get so damn frustrated.

We live in a city, county, state, and republic that can easily tax, tax, tax its gay citizens but it does not offer them the same freedom and protection it offers its straight citizens. The husband and I DO NOT have the same freedom and protection that my brother and his wife have in this country. We pay all the same tax bills as my brother and his wife, but we don't get all the same benefits.

I am annoyed that the majority (heteros) keep taking away the rights of the minority (homos) in state elections. Gay rights will not be passed by a popular vote any time soon- gay people are the minority?! How do you win the majority of the popular vote when you're a minority?

I know how mothers and daughters must have felt before they had the right to vote in this country. This must be similar to how black Americans felt during racial segregation. We live in a country we love, but it's like this country doesn't love us back.

It's incredibly frustrating at times.

My Most Loved Music

I love great music. One of the playlists on my iPhone is especially for my most loved music. I have a rule: when I'm listening to my most loved playlist if I skip over the same song two times in a row, then I move it off the list. However, most of the songs stay on the list in perpetuity- because I really do love these songs. Here's the current list:

One - Mary J. Blige & U2
Lie to Me - Shane Mack
My Favorite Memory - Merle Haggard
Jump - Madonna
Viva la Vida - Coldplay
Baby Hold On - Dixie Chicks
Am I The Only One - Dixie Chicks
Lullaby - Dixie Chicks
Home - Michael Buble
Lost - Michael Buble
Love Lockdown - Kanye West
To Make You Feel My Love - Kris Allen
Both Sides Now - Dolly Parton & Judy Collins
Landslide - Fleetwood Mac
Sea of Heartbreak - Rosanne Cash & Bruce Springsteen
I Will Follow You Into the Dark - Death Cab for Cutie
The Luckiest - Ben Folds

Monday, November 16, 2009

Owen says:

"Hey Uncles, I arrive in Texas on Friday night. Are you ready?"

We are Owen. We are ready to have some fun with our little California nephew. Can you stay through Christmas?

Friday, November 13, 2009

It's that time of year...

My iPhone is loaded with our Christmas play list. I love to listen to Christmas music this time of year. My all-time favorite Christmas song is Darlene Love's Christmas (Baby Please Come Home). My husband's all-time favorite Christmas album is Kenny Rodgers and Dolly Parton's Once Upon a Christmas. I will agree that Dolly's Hard Candy Christmas is one of my favorites too. Merry Christmas.

Pity Party of 1

Q4 is my husband's busy time of the year. He has to close deals before the year ends. As such he is on the road in different cities all week long. He leaves on Monday and returns on Friday. Yesterday he and his team worked so late that I spoke to him for less than 5 minutes. This sucks. All I really want is to spend as much time as possible with him. Two of seven days a week is not enough. It's not his fault. I'm just feeling sorry for myself. But the good news is that he'll be home tonight!!!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

SesameStreet turns 40

Today is Sesame Street's 40th anniversary. I loved watching Sesame Street when I was a kid. I loved Oscar the Grouch and Big Bird the most. I was Oscar the Grouch for Halloween one year, and when my room was too messy my parents called me Oscar the Grouch. I don't know why I could relate most to the dirty monster that lived in a garbage can? I also recall my maternal grandmother taking us to Fort Worth to see the Big Bird movie (Follow That Bird) in 1985. It was such a great outing. (Thank you Peaches!)

I also recall being completely mesmerized by the "How crayons are made" video that frequently appeared on episodes of Sesame Street. I guess it was their filler between skits?

I wonder if Owen and Presley will like Sesame Street too?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Ignore the men in t-shirts

We were on our way to the gym- dressed in our gym wear- and we stopped at Brooks Brothers. This was the last weekend where preferred customers could get an additional 15% off their purchases, and since Brooks Brothers makes the best shirts in the world we wanted to make a few purchases. Fun facts: The husband and I wear the same size shirt. We wear the same size shoes. We do not wear the same size pants because I have more junk in my trunk. So we walk into Brooks Brothers in gym shorts and a dry-fit shirts and we are IGNORED by the entire sales team. They do not offer to help us find our size. We pick out three shirts- and we ask the stocking clerk to look in the back for a slim fit 17 x 34, but they were out. We go to pay, and they ask to SEE my preferred customer letter before they give us the additional 15% discount. After they see the letter they start to warm up to us- and we get a friendly handshake as they hand over our bag with shirts.

I could get mad and say I'll boycott Brooks Brothers because they did to us what those biotches did to Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, but damnit they make the best shirts. So I'll just write this blog post and get over it.

I am so excited about my new shirts.

A Safe Spot To Give Birth

My husband's parent's next door neighbor and dear friend is a widow named Nancy. Earlier this year Nancy had to put down her 17-year old poodle; only dog people will understand the heartache she must have felt when she had to say goodbye to Scarlett. Five weeks ago a beautiful and sweet stray dog wandered up to Nancy's house, and with a little encouragement from the family Nancy decided she'd jump back into dog ownership and adopt this stray dog.

Nancy was in Europe for two weeks. Upon returning from her trip the K9 Hilton informed Nancy that her dog was pregnant. (Oops, the vet had missed that during the pre-adoption physical a few weeks ago.) Nancy was jet lagged from her trip and she decided she could wait one more day to prepare for puppies. She fell asleep on her couch and was awoken at about 8:00 PM to the sound of high pitched whimpers from her bedroom. Nancy entered her bedroom to find her dog on her bed starting to give birth.

My husband's mother was called and she went next door as a K9-midwife; three hours later the dog had giving birth to 8 puppies on top of Nancy's king size bed and created a bloody mess on the sheets and mattress.

We went to see the puppies today- they are so cute- and they have been relocated to a box in the kitchen. Just think: the mother dog was living on the streets a few weeks ago. She was dumped at the lake by her owners. Maybe because she WAS pregnant? The dog found Nancy. Nancy adopted her, and instead of giving birth in the wilderness the dog gave birth on a king size bed. She went from the streets to the palace. Good for her. And she growls at anyone other than Nancy that attempts to peak at the puppies.

Nancy's new bed is coming tomorrow. Does anyone want a puppy or two or eight?

Men and their toys.

My father purchased my grandfather's golf cart, and then he installed an off-road package, gun racks, and added seats in the back. This is a picture of the final product: A University of Texas off-road golf cart for him to ride around the sports-shooting range. He rides from station to station and "kills" clay pigeons that randomly fly across the field.

It's slightly romantic, because now my mother will go to the range with him and ride around in his cart. The good news is that this is a gasoline golf cart- so at least quail, dove, and pheasants will hear him coming if ever he uses this cart to hunt living birds.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Sinking Car- I am ready.

Did you hear about the three college athletes who drowned this week when their car went into a pond at night? You can find the story on CNN. I've been thinking about those beautiful ladies all day. I am very sorry for their families. That is horrible.

We must learn from the horrible- to ensure the horrible doesn't happen again.

I want you to go sit in your parked car for five minutes and think about this situation: how would you escape from a sinking car? Don't ignore the question. Think. If ever you find yourself inside a sinking car YOU WILL SURVIVE if you've thought about your exit strategy. It must be a shocking situation to suddenly find your car in water, but dwelling on this situation could save your life. Use Google to learn how experts say you need to successfully escape from a sinking car. Do it. (And if you can't think about how you would escape from a sinking car while your car is parked on your concrete driveway, then how do you think you'll react if by accident your car actually goes into water?!)

Here's what I've learned:

The key is to remain calm. Control your panic. Use your adrenaline rush to your advantage- remind yourself that you know what to do because you've thought about this before the horrible moment when your car is in water.

First, don't call for help your cell phone. Help doesn't have time to come. Second, don't think your car will float like in cartoons. It won't. Now here's what you need to do: Unbuckle your seat belt, instruct other adults to unbuckle their seat beats, unbuckle your children and put them in the front seat with you, roll down your window and swim your way out of the window. What if you can't fit out of the widow? No worries, push your children out the window and tell them to swim to the surface. Remain calm and breath the air bubble while you wait for the pressure to equalize- a.k.a. water fills the inside of your car. As soon as the car is full of water and the pressure is equalized, then you can open the door and swim to the surface. Easy.

Apparently car makers are smart, because it appears that electric windows will work up to 20 minutes in water- so you don't have to worry about them not rolling down- however as soon as you do roll down the window water will rush into the car- that has to be dramatic- but just remember that as the water rushes in you can rush out.

Of course, make sure you and all your family members know how to swim ASAP. Also we need to come to terms with the fact that your car won't be sinking in a heated saltwater pool- the water could be muddy, cloudy, and chilly. No worries you can swim in the muck and survive.

The key to any survival is being prepared. You have to mentally be prepared to handle yourself in a life and death situation. So spend ten minutes thinking about how you would survive. And you will survive.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Living the Dream

My aunt and uncle are approaching 70. They live on the edge of their 250 acres in a house they built over 30 years ago. Most people at their age are starting to simplify things and are trying to eliminate clutter from their house and their life.

However, my father's brother and his wife are about to become septuagenarians and they are also about to move into a new home. They are building a house in the middle of their land on the most beautiful spot. The house is positioned on a bluff among giant oaks over looking green fields, more beautiful trees, and a creek. The house is not a large house, but it is very well designed and has excellent proportions. Our good friend Eddie is an architect and he claims that 2,800 square feet is the perfect size house if it is a well designed house. I used to doubt him, but now I'm starting to see the wisdom in his statement.

My aunt and uncle purchased blueprints from Southern Living, and it is evident that the house has been professionally designed by an architect. The house has beautiful curb appeal, and no space is wasted inside. It is a very nice house, and I am looking forward to seeing the completed home.

I am inspired by my aunt and uncle. I really like the fact that they are building and creating at their age. It excites me to think about being 70-years-old and building a house with my husband. You're never too old. Anything can happen- at any time. My aunt an uncle are living the dream. They are retired and they get to spend all day every day with each other. They chase after their grandchildren, they travel, they maintain their land. I could easily give up our Dallas house for a beautiful home on a perfect spot in the country. I would enjoy the quiet time with my husband- sitting on the wrap-around porch listening to the giant oaks sway and enjoying the time with the one I love. Yes, my aunt and uncle are living that life.

Yes I Can

I made pear preserves again. I chopped up 9 large organic Bartlett pears and 9 large organic D'Anjou pears and added 6 cups of sugar, covered them and let them rest for 12 hours; this time I replaced 2 cups of sugar with raw local Texas honey. It's a nice flavor if you enjoy honey and pears. I always try to use honey and/or dark brown sugar instead of white sugar- but I read online that you cannot make preserves with only honey.

After the mixture rest for 12 hours, I boil it for four hours until it reduces to a nice thick consistency. I load up my jars with the hot preserves, secure the lids, boil the filled jars for 10 minutes to sterilize the contents, and then rest the jars on the kitchen towel until they pop.

In the mornings I make oatmeal and I sweeten it with pear preserves and berries. It's delicious, and I feel like the pears give me additional nutrients. I also like to eat pear preserves on buttered toast, and I like to spread goat cheese on dry toast and then cover the top of cheese in pear preserves. Yum.

I wish I had a spot to plant a pear tree in our yard. The only way this could be more fun is if I used pears from a tree in our yard. I also wish Glenda was still alive so I could call and tell her about my canning success. She'd be proud. My husband does not like pears. He does not like honey. He does not like preserves of any kind. (He'll only eat grape jelly out of the squeezable bottle.) But he does like to help me can my preserves. It's a fun fall thing to do together.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Pig, Pig, Duck

Presley went as a pig. Owen went as a duck. If only we'd known and we could have been Old McDonald. Happy Halloween 2009!